Backstage with Finntroll at Heavy Scotland...

So... how do you put on those ears??

Finland is a place of snow, saunas and er… Anti-Christian Trolls? Stepping out of the misty forests, reciting folklore tales and stories to us are the Finnish band Finntroll. A band that have grown a big name for themselves around the Folk-metal scene, with their energetic live shows and their incredibly catchy songs. Whilst enjoying my time at Heavy Scotland this year I caught up with vocalist Vreth and guitarist Routa for a backstage beer and a laugh for Metal As Fuck.

Hey guys! Welcome back to Scotland! You’ve played in Scotland before, is it good to be back? Routa takes this one, "Yes, its good to be back, we played a tour where we went to both Glasgow and Edinburgh, it was about 15 years ago or something crazy like that!". (laughs) "It was in the very beginning of Finntroll, before Vreth’s time, it was when Virta just started with the band". Have you had a chance to check out the Edinburgh castle yet? Vreth explains, "Yeah, we looked at it from the cab window yesterday when we went from the after party to the cabin, like “oh look, there it is”, although Routa was passed out". Routa agrees, "Yeah I was passed out". 

Finntroll have played quite a few shows in the UK, how would you say the audiences compare between UK shows to playing a show back in Finland? Vreth describes the UK audiences "There is not really much difference, but in the beginning the UK was very hard to get into, you know the British they like their old school death metal and old school heavy metal. I think we were a bit too exotic at first, one of the first tours we did over here they were like “what? This is not my metal!” I remember when we did the Amon Amarth tour over here, people started really liking us and now the shows are really good over here". 

Are you guys doing quite a lot of festivals this summer? Routa sighs "No, this will be the year with no gigs, we will be recording the new album and the past three years we’ve pretty much done shows every weekend and some big tours, so this year is going to be only like seven shows and a Russian tour. Its going to be really quiet, maybe like twenty shows". So everyone is asking when the new album coming out and you guys are like “We havn't stopped touring!” "Exactly, and we actually cant do anything on the road, you know some bands are writing new songs on the road, no… for us that’s not going to happen". 

When you guys grew up in Scandinavia, did your parents scare you by telling you bedtime stories about trolls and folklore? Routa exclaims, "I was actually reading Russian fairy tales!". [We all have a bit of a giggle] Well then what inspires you to create new albums? Vreth answers, "Well it could be anything really, we could be at the supermarket and a song in a commercial that comes on and the melody gets stuck in your head. Or you could be listening to another metal album and you think this kind of style could be cool for this part you know, inspiration could come from anywhere". Routa chimes in, "I actually noticed for myself, I get the most inspiration when I’m listening to music that I used to listen to when I was like eighteen or something, just a few songs that you listen to and you’re like “oh yeah, that could actually work”, not copying it or anything, but the idea comes out when you listen it". 

And why trolls? Routa smiles, "Actually the story goes, with the name Finntroll, that one of these Viking Head Honcho's made up a Christian crusade trip, they met native Finnish people who lived in the forest up there when they were trying to anchor and they attacked the crusade boat. The Natives kept attacking and the crusaders couldn’t get onto the shore, the natives were even following the boat a huge distance, like 80km’s or similar. When the Christian crusaders gave up and went back, they had written in their diary or log that they tried to make it to shore but the Natives are very violent, harsh and cruel things and of course the natives were living in the forest with all the dirt and leaves, so they were calling them Finntrolls! That's we we got our name". 

You guys wear some costumes on stage, you wear troll ears, have you guys ever had an issue with your troll ears falling off on-stage? Both of them explain, "Yes! We have them fall off all the time! Vreth touches his ears, We have to use professional make-up, theatre glue and glue them on, because when you are doing like 20 shows in a row, they end up falling off, I think I’ve lost mine only like twice". Routa continues, "My girlfriend used to be a professional make-up artist and they had some prosthetic make-up training course and she took my troll ears over to the school. The teacher was like “those are nice, but they are not going to stay on your models ears” so she showed the teacher a live video of us and she said “What the Fuck are these guys doing? Can you ask your boyfriend to come here and show me how to put on these ears?” [cue laughing from everyone in the press room] Musician slash make-up artist! I like it!

So you guys have toured in Australia before, did you like it? Routa gets excited, "Yes, we’ve been twice! Actually yesterday I got my facebook memory from when we were in penguin island in Perth. I got to see baby penguins, Fuck they were cute! Vreth jumps in, Yeah, we actually walked through the water over to penguin island through the shark infested waters. Even I wont go in those waters! Routa talks us through an aussie tour, "Actually both times we’ve toured Australia, the schedule is such a pain in the ass, its just like fly in, do the show, straight from the venue to the airport. It takes too long to drive anywhere, its the same in South America". Vreth shakes his head, "Its like Oh do I want to go see the Sydney opera house or get my two hours sleep for the day? It’s just travel, travel, travel and try to sleep on the plane and don't even get me started on the flight time to get to Australia, our last flight was 36 hours!". 

With that, I thanked the guys for the catchup and sent them off to glue on their troll ears for the show.

Be sure to see Finntroll if they are playing anywhere near you, their shows are unmissable!